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The Chattanooga Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra (a.k.a. "CACJO") started out as an idea by co-founders and orchestra percussionists Robert Acevedo and Roberto Luis Sanchez to create an entertaining and educational musical project for audiences and young musicians living in the Greater Chattanooga Metropolitan Area. The great State of Tennessee is known around the world for its two wonderful Musical Cities (Nashville and Memphis) and its well-attuned people who cherish its rich musical heritage that spans from country music, to blues, to jazz and R&B. Most recently, however, the State's multicultural growth has inspire us to also bring it a little bit of that exuberant Latin Ting. Consequently, CACJO members spent long days and night preparing music charts, rehearsing them, and eating black-beans and rice with "tostones" (i.e., fried green plantains or akin to the Caribbean's version of fried green tomatoes) to get our first tasty and soulful performances and recordings on their way. Our orchestra is cemented by our unifying love for one another, as commanded by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Together through His love and grace, we have a shared vision to be the best He intended us to be and with the needed passion required to successfully play Latin Jazz. It is our deep desire to share unforgettable experiences of joy with our listeners. Our music promises to be uplifting and to get you and your friends on your feet. It is a feeling and heritage that we love to pass along to all of you who also enjoy that Latin Beat (a.k.a. "#LatinJazz). If after attending one of our performances, you do not leave with a smile, humming one of the tunes or simply moving your feet to the rhythm of the conga beat, oh well, what else can we possibly do for you other than to say: Call Doctor Beat! :)
Who we are
Rhythm Section: Robert Acevedo Jr. (Timbales); Roberto Luis Sánchez (Congas); Richard Henson Jr (Drums); William Snuggs (bongos); Matthew Zalusky (Piano); Jacob Coleman (Bass); Sean Perkinson (Guitar); Nick Tomasello (Guitar); Nico Barboza (Guitar)
Kirsten Tatum; Sydney DeVoe, Mia Galaviz; Nyreay Penn
Stephen Bearden (Trumpet) Caleb Bolaños (Trumpet), Jonathan Bishop (Trombone); Jesse Crabtree (Trombone); ,
Flutes and Reeds:
Jose Ruiz (Flute); Tim Ferguson (Sax),
Our current generation of musicians are well aware of the influence of Latin Music in Jazz, but few may be aware of how these genres began to mix in the United States circa 1940s with orchestras such as "Machito and His Afro-Cubans" and musicians such as Mario Bauza and Chico O'Farril to form what we now call #LatinJazz. The process of mixing the genres started in the also very musical cities of Havana and New Orleans, but it was not until an early immigrant from Cuba named "Chano" Pozo met the wonderful Jazz musician named "Dizzy" Gillespie in 1947 and he became part of Dizzy's band that they, together with other excellent musicians, popularized the Afro-Cuban jazz style. Such men were the founding musical inspiration for CACJO's formation and to many other afro-cuban jazz musicians who stood on the shoulders of such giants.
Our music blends big band jazz, Afro-Cuban rhythms, acoustic melodies, and electronic to create exciting sounds. Our members are professionally trained musicians and most are either alumni or current professors/students at Lee University, which is located in the City of Cleveland, TN.